Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Top Movies of the Year... in 2012!

Disclaimer: I wrote most of this post in October. It would have been more surprising to make this list while there was plenty of this year left and before every movie critic out there started making these lists... but I still think you'll like it. Also, while this is a "top" list, it's more the movies I'm looking forward to. Neither Midnight in Paris or Moneyball made my list last year but that's because I wasn't looking forward to them until I saw them.

So I love two things: lists and movies. This post combines those two things into one thing.

What follows is the list of movies I am most looking forward to next year. It's not healthy to constantly look to the future so I intentionally wait until the latest possible time to put together this list so that I won't miss out on enjoying the movies that are already here. Now that all of the movies on last year's list have come out, I can finally put together this one.

I hope you enjoy. :)

Honorable Mention: Skyfall (November 9th), The Lorax (March 2nd) and The Amazing Spider-man (July 4th)
Skyfall is the next James Bond film. I loved Casino Royale and was bored/nauseous while watching Quantum of Solace. I hope Skyfall is more Royal and less Solace. As for "The Lorax", I love Dr Seuss and loved Despicable Me (the studio also making Lorax) so it seems like I should like this one. That said, it's a story about cutting down trees. Even if I don't like it, I can get some serious street cred with my more environmentally conscious friends. Spider-man is Spider-man. I don't know why they're rebooting it already but I'll still see it.

5. Brave- June 22nd
Besides lists and movies in general, I love Pixar. The worst Pixar movie is better than 90% of other movies. This one has its pros and cons. The cons: It looks similar to "How to Train Your Dragon" other than it involves a bear. The pros: "How to Train Your Dragon" was a pretty good movie. Also, half of the cast was in Harry Potter at one point. (The Grey Lady, Mrs. Weasley, Professor Trelawney, Hagrid) That's not to mention late night host and hilarious comedian Craig Ferguson. Although Ferguson was in HTTYD so I'm not sure if that's actually a pro or con yet.

4. The Hunger Games- March 23rd
I'm currently reading "Mockingjay", the 3rd book in the Hunger Games trilogy and if the movie is anything like the book, it should be great. The books were pretty much responsible for me not getting any homework done or really sleeping much during the month of September. The premise, the plot twists, the characters... this book had everything. It's hard for a movie to get even close to matching the quality of the book that it is being adapted from but I have high hopes for this one. Why? This movie is the rare case where the author of  the book not only is involved with the movie, she personally wrote the script.

3. The Avengers- May 4th
This movie would be the top on this list in a normal year. Fortunately, this is not a normal year. Growing up as a fan of comic-book superheroes you always wished that you could get other heroes to show up in the same world as other ones. This movie is finally making that possible. Being able to see Iron Man, Captain America and The Hulk all fighting at the same time is going to be pretty sweet. And it makes sense. I mean really, why wouldn't Superman just fly in and take care of people like The Joker for Batman? A perfectly good hospital was ruined in The Dark Knight... you don't think a guy that can fly faster than a speeding bullet couldn't have stopped that? (Yes, I know... none of the characters in this movie are in the same comic book universe as Batman or Superman. I just thought it was a good example.)

2. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey- December 14th
This has occasionally been on the top of my list. It could be 1B. I'm not a fan of ties though. It's why I watch baseball. Anyway, this should be fantastic. I just saw the trailer after watching The Two Towers and Return of the King and I'd forgotten how much I'd missed these movies coming out. I won't be attached to it in the same way that someone who had grown up reading the books will be but I love the LOTR films so this is one that I guarantee I will be there opening night. (Probably not the midnight showing. I can't stand people giving the plot out loud as their watching it and that's typically the crowd you find at those. I've gotten old.)

1. The Dark Knight Rises- July 20th
When I doubt that this should be on the top of my list I just rewatch the trailer. I love love love Batman. Grew up watching the cartoon. Went to go see Batman Forever and Batman & Robin in the theatres. (They were much better when I was a kid.) Went to go see Batman Begins at 10:30am the day it came out because I'm pretty sure they didn't bother doing a midnight showing. Saw The Dark Knight at midnight and several other times in the theatre after that. When someone does something well for awhile, they earn your trust. Christopher Nolan has my trust going into this movie that it will be a fitting conclusion to his Batman trilogy. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Change of Plans

Who? Uh... me.

What? Taking a semester off of grad school and working at Panera Bread in Caledonia, MI to save up money for the fall.

When? Today (December 28th)

Where? Michigan. It's the one that looks like a mitten.

Why? Well, that's a little bit harder to answer. I'm definitely glad that I went to TEDS this fall (assuming that I passed my classes.) I've enjoyed the friendships I've been able to have with my friends here. I've enjoyed working at the Panera Bread here in the suburbs of Chicago. It really came down to two things: church and money.

The money aspect is easiest to explain. I love Panera... but it's hard to pay for grad school on minimum wage hours. I knew that I needed to take a break from school to save up money because while I will probably go into some debt to pay for grad school at some point, I don't want to have to go into so much debt that I'm regretting going at all for years afterwards.

The role that church played in my decision was that while there are many great churches within reasonable driving distance of where I'm living, I didn't have any that I fell into place with. While I could have done better at putting my foot in the door to get involved, it wouldn't have been to the degree that I will be able to do so when I'm back home.

There's also the fact that I will hopefully be headed back to school in the fall of 2012. I wasn't really motivated to get involved with a church at this point only to head to some other area a few months later. My church back home is already used to me coming and going over the past few years and the friendships still remain so it's not quite as tough to do.

I'll be taking my 2nd semester of Beginning Greek through Moody Distance Learning so that I can stay on pace with that for wherever I am next fall. (Again, assuming that I passed Beginning Greek I.)

I've been doing a lot of thinking during the decision process and I thought about the verse that we often cling to in Proverbs 3:5-6. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." The biggest thing that this has reminded me of is that we're often walking crooked paths. Life isn't expected to be easy even when we're obedient. Situations get messy. Hard decisions have to be made.

 God could promise us here that He'll make life easy for the obedient. He doesn't. He calls His children to trust Him and then at some point, not determined by the amount of our trust, He'll make the paths that we're on... the ones that don't make sense... the ones that don't go according to "plan"... the ones that we can't see if we'll be able to reach the desired end... He'll make them straight.

I think that if we could look back after He "makes our paths straight" we'd see that they really were the whole time. That's why we have to give up on our own ability to make up plans and trust Him to know what He's doing. I can already attest to the way that God has worked in this situation. I practically got hired for the job at Panera in Michigan just for saying that I'm working at Panera now. In this economy, even a job at Panera can't be taken for granted.

I'm thankful that this seems to be the crooked path that God is making straight in His timing. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Back to Blogging

I normally have gaps between posts because I don't have enough to write that I could pump out one every day but it has been an abnormally large gap since the last post. I'm writing this to say... I'll be back. Soon.

I've actually already written a few posts but haven't had the time to edit them enough to publish so they'll be coming within the next few days. Mainly after finals are done. It's hard to believe how much these classes get in the way of something as important as blogging. :p

I thought I'd give a little glimpse of what's to come with 10 titles for future blog posts.

Ok, most of these are ones I'm not actually writing...

But a few are.

(Ooooohhh. Suspense!)

Here they are:

I Liked Newt Gingrich Before it was Cool: A Hipster Take on Politics

Would You Still Want to Go to Heaven if it was in New Jersey?

Finding Nic Mc: The Story of the One Guy Who Doesn't Use Facebook

The Gospel According to Kermit the Frog and/or Bill Cosby

The Top 5 Movies of the Year... in 2012!

Why the Detroit Lions are Going to Win the Super Bowl... in 2057!

It's Hard to go through the Drive Thru at McDonald's When Your Windows are Frozen Shut.

The Top 12 Books that I Bought but Never Read

French Pressed: Why the Best Tasting Method of Making Coffee is Also the Messiest

Believe it or Not, Soccer is a Real Sport

The Chuck E. Cheese's for Adults: Chuck E. Cheese's

Hope you enjoyed. I'll be back with something more substantive after finals! :)